CBS screenshot, John Paschal/JPI (2), CBS

A relatively minor character could should have been part of a major storyline.

How The Young and the Restless allowed Jesse Gaines to leave Genoa City with a pulse, we’ll never understand. And with Jamison Jones having wrapped his run as Ashland’s blackmailer, per Soap Opera Digest, we’re left as frustrated as confused.

The soap had on its hands the makings of a murder mystery that was truly killer. Everyone wanted Gaines dead, from Ashland, whose empire he was threatening, to, ultimately, Billy, whose… OK, his empire was also being threatened.

What can we say? There were a lotta empires at stake here.

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Ashland, Gaines face off Y&R

Yet instead of set in motion a classic whodunit, Young & Restless shrugged, “Eh, why do it?” and sent Gaines packing. Yes, the character, on orders from Victor and Adam, upended Billy’s life. But wouldn’t a murder mystery have been more…

Well, we don’t want to sound ghoulish, but… more fun.

We could’ve been treated to weeks of guessing games, red herrings and finger-pointing, then at the end of the line, get a scene in which, as Billy’s being thrown in the slammer for a crime he didn’t commit, Ashland clinks glasses with… Victor. “I am forever indebted to you,” says the Locke Ness Monster.

“Don’t expect me to forget that,” replies the Black Knight. “I own you now.”

Watching the chilling exchange from afar, Nikki would end up torn. Does she leave well enough alone and let Billy rot in prison… or does she risk her marriage to call in old friend Paul Williams to help her get to the bottom of the crime?

See? It’s a murder mystery that then could have turned into a relationship drama, one that culminates in Paul discovering that Victor had Gaines offed… but covered his tracks in such a way that Ashland would look like the guilty party if the truth ever threatened to come out.

Would Nikki use that information to free Billy, even if the price was Victoria’s happiness? Would she try to pretend that she never asked any questions in the first place? And would Paul give her any choice in the matter?

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We would’ve loved to have found out. Wouldn’t you? On your way to the comments to share your thoughts on what might have been, stop off at the below photo gallery, which celebrates Chance’s return with a look back at his and Abby’s rocky road to #relationshipgoals status.